As I write it has been about a week since Ray Bradbury passed away, as you can expect for such an influential author numerous tributes were written by famous authors, celebs, columnists and of course fans. Instead of adding another drop to the ocean of tributes I would rather pay my own little tribute through rereading and updating this existing review.
Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of Bradbury's best-known works. Like [b: Fahrenheit 451|17470674|Fahrenheit 451|Ray Bradbury|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1366411587s/17470674.jpg|1272463] this is a fully fledged novel rather than a collection of interconnected stories like some of the author's best-known books. If this was written recently it would probably be classified as YA, fortunately, it was first published in the 60s, so it escapes such unnecessary categorization and was read far and wide by readers of all ages. This is a story of two boys Will Halloway and his best friend Jim Nightshade, how their lives are turned upside down when a mysterious carnival arrive in their Midwestern town and all hell proceed to break loose.
Novels centered around a friendship between two kids like Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn can be very wonderful. There is something about friendship at that young age when walking always seems too slow to get to where you want to go to do what you want to do, so you must always run. If you have a "bestie" to run with better still, the race is always on and winning it is unimportant. Those days stay with you for the rest of your life even if the friend has gone his separate ways. Reading about Jim Nightshade and William Halloway makes me feel nostalgic and bring back a lot of happy childhood memories even though I did not have to battle creepy supernatural beings from a dark carnival. That said, the fantastical element of this book makes the story even more vivid for me. The book is written in simple yet evocative prose, there is a poetic rhythm to his writing which is characteristic of Bradbury, practically every paragraph is quotable as an example of written elegance. The book is very atmospheric, I love the portentous feeling of the impending arrival of the mysterious carnival; I can almost hear the creepy calliope music described in the book.
The characters are masterfully drawn, Will Halloway is intelligent and earnest without being a mere cipher for the readers, his friend Jim Nightshade is impulsive, impatient and loyal. Will's father Mr. Charles Halloway is a lovable melancholic janitor who finds grace under pressure. Mr. Dark (AKA The Illustrated Man*) the villain of the piece is suitably suave, evil and formidable, his witchy henchwoman is even more creepy than he is. Beside a great story, there are moral lessons and philosophy to consider. I envy the boys their friendship, I do not
want to go on that weird merry-go-round, and I love this book from first page to last. R.I.P. Mr. Bradbury
* Not to be confused with the eponymous [b:The Illustrated Man|24830|The Illustrated Man|Ray Bradbury|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1374049820s/24830.jpg|1065861] from Bradbury's famous anthology.